While still over a year from completion, the Burj Khalifa, seen in this dramatic shot by staff photographer Paulo Vecina in January 2009, was already the tallest building in the world.
Work started on then-Burj Dubai in early 2004 and by July 2007 the structure was crowned the world’s tallest structure and by that September had become the world’s tallest free standing structure, eclipsing the 628.8 KTHLY-TV mast in North Dakota in the United States. When Vecina took this shot, the lightning-crowned tower had just been topped out at 826 metres. All that remained was finishing cladding the structure and complete its interior before the official opening in January 2010.
In the five years since, the Burj Khalifa has become one of the seven wonders of the modern world. It is tempting to assume nothing like will ever be built again – except that this is Dubai.
* James Langton
Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation’s past. Readers are invited to make contributions to: email@example.com